A Hearty Mexican Beef Stew Infused with Rich Mole Flavors

Pot of mole de olla with garnishes and fresh tortillas

This one-pot Mexican beef stew is packed with veggies and rich in flavor due to the purée of dried chiles that both season and flavor it which give it its name.  Don't be intimidated by the name: the term mole comes from the Nahuatl mol-li, which can mean both sauce (like the famous ones of Puebla and Oaxaca) and soup, as it does in this Central Mexican dish. A hearty and healthy comfort food, mole de olla is what we crave in the colder months.

Versions of mole de olla vary from region to region, but this particular recipe, lightly adapted from Mely Martínez of Mexico In My Kitchen, features tender cuts of oxtail and beef shank, enhanced with dried chiles for smokiness, and simmered alongside hearty vegetables such as corn, chayotes, carrots and xoconostles. If you're curious about xoconostle — pronounced 'soh-koh-NOHS-tleh' — think of it as the long-distant cousin of the prickly pear. These cactus fruits bring a delightful tart and citrusy flavor to the caldo, if you can find them (if not, feel free to leave them out). Despite its complex flavor, this dish requires only a few hands-on steps.


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